Actor, musician and artistic director Tom E Lewis has been honored with the 2006 Red Ochre Award by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait arts board of the Australia Council for the Arts.
Propelled to prominence as the title character in Fred Schepisi’s 1977 film The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Tom E Lewis has since developed a formidable career in the arts spanning film, television, music, theatre, community cultural development, animation projects and festival artistic direction.
Dr Chris Sarra, chair of the Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts board said that Tom E Lewis was an artist who embodied an amazing and generous artistic energy across an array of artistic practice including film, theatre, music and community cultural development.
‘I am proud to acknowledge that Tom embodies the principles of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts board in claiming, controlling and enhancing Indigenous culture among our country’s Indigenous communities; we consider him a true leader in ‘keeping culture strong’.
‘I applaud him for his role in passing on the pride and tradition of Indigenous arts to young and old people alike.
‘His work as the artistic director of the Walking With Spirits Festival is but one example of Tom’s commitment to creating space for the celebration and appreciation of Aboriginal art and culture,’ said Dr Sarra.
Tom E Lewis has starred in films such as The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (Schepisi, 1977), We of the Never Never (Auzens, 1982), The Proposition (Hillcoat, 2005) and Crocodile Dreaming (2006) by Indigenous filmmaker Darlene Johnson.
Mr Lewis’s theatre work includes productions with Melbourne Theatre Company; Playbox Theatre (now Malthouse Theatre); Melbourne Workers Theatre and Handspan Theatre Company, with whom he devised the internationally successful semi-autobiographical work Lift Em Up Socks.
Dr Chris Sarra and Mr David Tollner MP (Member for Solomon, NT) will present the 2006 Red Ochre Award on Monday 11 December at the Darwin Entertainment Centre (93 Mitchell Street, Darwin) at 2pm.